Langley’s Nicole Bolton was quite a pickup for a Kelowna Heat team that captured a silver medal at the Western Canadian U18 girls fastpitch championships in Lloydminster, Sask.
The 18-year-old shortstop, whose club team is the Langley Rebels, batted .500, one of the highest averages in tournament history, with a team-best slugging percentage of .700 and a near-perfect fielding percentage of .963, with just one error in eight games.
The Heat is made up of girls from various places in the B.C. Interior, and with some injuries, had room for a shortstop.
“I was very pleased when Nicole agreed to make the trip to Lloydminster for the westerns,” Heat coach Boyd Tyerman said. “Nicole was a key ingredient to the team’s success at westerns, being one of the strongest offensive and defensive players on the team. Most importantly she fit in great with the team, sharing many of the same traits and values of teamwork, sportsmanship, and competitiveness as the other girls.”
Pictured at bat for the Kelowna Heat, Langley’s Nicole Bolton had a tremendous showing, offensively, at the Western Canadian U18 girls fastpitch championships in Lloydminster, Sask., hitting .500 with a slugging percentage of nearly .700.During the tournament held July 31 to Aug. 3, the Heat went 3-1 through the round-robin, while outscoring there competition 37-25. – Special to the Langley Advance
Nanaimo upset the Heat by a 6-5 score to start the playoffs, which sent the Kelowna team down a longer path to fight back into medal contention.
The Heat dug deep and won their next three games in convincing style versus St. Albert (8-0), Manitoba #2 (13-3), and then Nanaimo (8-0).
The redemption win against Nanaimo guaranteed the Heat at least a silver medal.
In their ninth game of the weekend, the Heat faced the unbeaten No. 1 Manitoba team, the Manitoba Thunder, to determine Western Canadian titleholders,
With the score tied 2-2, the Thunder’s offence came alive in the fourth inning, with a couple of big hits to gain the lead and earn the victory.
The Heat accomplished something that no other Kelowna team in their division has ever done: medal at the western championship.
Along the way the Kelowna girls placed first in their pool after four games, and then had to play five more games to earn the silver medal.
Through the nine games played over four days the Heat scored 74 runs, while only allowing 40 against.
They won via mercy rule on three occasions, while winning two games without allowing a run, and in their final four games a very focused defense played almost error free allowing a total of only nine runs.
The silver medal capped what has been a fine summer for Bolton, who helped the Rebels to a bronze medal at the B.C. provincials earlier in July.
This was Nicole’s last year in minor fastball, she has worked hard for many years at a competitive level of fastball, so it’s great to see her rewarded with two medals at the end of her last minor ball season,” Tyerman said.